July 16, 2008

The legacy of GW Bush

I have come to the conclusion that our current President is the Republican version of Jimmah Carter, inept and leaderless. He did a good job following the attacks of September 11, and he has shown some occasional bright spots since, but his desire to get along and to be liked has failed miserably. Bush has trampled the Conservative principles of those that elected him twice. The Republican Congress of his first term spent like drunken sailors in Tijuana and Bush lifted nary a veto pen. He did not lead from his bully pulpit to encourage fiscal responsibility and as a result we have a falling dollar and rising inflation. He has mismanaged the War on Terror. It is rare he speaks against anyone. The recent spike in oil opened a perfect door for the President, a former oilman, to push for increased domestic drilling. He has spoken out, but only in mild terms. Sometimes the situation calls for fist pounding and angry accusations.

We looked for this President to get the Government smaller and it has only grown under his watch. The No Child Left Behind Act is a disaster -- ask anyone involved in Education. He did get us tax breaks, and the economy rebounded well after 9/11, but we have seen little leadership since. His appointments for Sec State and other high level positions have been lousy.

President Bush came to office with a reputation of getting along with the Democrats. He wanted to be known as a bipartisan leader. Instead he just looks weak. I learned long ago that the way to win a debate is to get your opposition to accept your argument on a small level and build from there. If you can get buy-in on a small premise, you can win the argument or negotiation.

For example in negotiations, I may make a statement like "I am sure you agree our quality and delivery are unmatched in the industry." When the customer agrees, I will tell him that he knows such standards have a cost. Now we are negotiating on my terms. The customer will agree that a Rolls Royce has a hefty price tag because it is better. By the same token, my widgets command a higher price. Now we are discussing how much more he will pay for my product instead of negotiating the lowest price possible. It may or may not be true I have the best quality, but that was accepted by his previous agreement.

In just the same manner this President has allowed the Liberals to set the agenda and grounds for negotiation. Trying to be bipartisan he has allowed them to negotiate from a position of strength. When one begins every argument on the defensive you can only look weak. You have to win a few fights before you can be seen to "compromise", otherwise you are just a loser. By accepting the liberal premise the Federal Government needs to be involved and "fix" education we get No Child Left Behind, not the elimination of the Department of Education. By accepting the Climate Change scenario, we are discussing ways to battle non-existent man made global warming instead of debate on its causes or even its existence. We argue about how much we should mandate for a minimum raise instead of what effects it will have on the economy. We discuss how much of a "rebate" we give people who do not even pay taxes instead of the merits of such a proposal.

As such, I would not be surprised to see the President show up for an Oval Office speech in a sweater telling us to turn down our thermostats this winter.

What really disturbs me is I am afraid the current Republican candidate is from the same mold.

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